Pastors, Politics, Passivity, and Peril
According to the Pew Research Center, 61% of Oregonians describe themselves as Christian. Nearly half of those describe themselves as Evangelicals. So why are our politics so liberal?
When was the last time you heard a sermon on what the Bible says about politics, about the right ordering of a polis (city, county, or state) along Biblical lines? Many pastors seem to have bought into the notion of the separation of religion and politics. But when Paul writes to Timothy about how to be a good pastor, he begins with politics. As he begins his instructions about the worship of the Church he writes this:
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Paul tells Timothy that the most important thing to do in church is to pray for politicians. The prayer is for them to be “saved.” Paul is using the term “saved” comprehensively. He wants politicians to be disciples of Jesus, and govern all of their lives, including their positions of authority, in a God pleasing way. The end result of this, Paul tells us, is that “we might live peaceful and quiet lives.” Good rulers, and good public policies that mirror the Word of God, are what provide the stability in which Christian citizens can flourish in their lives.
Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked reign, the people mourn.”
This country’s early colonial period was marked by pastors who preached “election day sermons,” in which they taught the truths of God’s word as it relates to politics, to the governing of political units. They did this to prepare their congregants for that year’s election, to prepare them to vote. I pastored for over 30 years and preached a number of election day sermons.
When pastors avoid politics like the plague, congregants become politically uninformed and passive, leading to peril – bad laws, high taxation, anti-Christian education, the breakdown of the rule of law, and the rise of mismanagement and injustice. Christians need to be instructed how to be good spouses, good parents, good workers, and good citizens. They need to be taught the linkage between good governors and lives of peacefulness and human flourishing. We now live in a state that is marked by the breakdown of the family, the need for two wage earners in a home, the inability of parents to provide for a Christian education for their children, forced financial support for the killing of pre-born infants, and a government that seems more intent on protecting bums (those who refuse to work,) and rioters than the well-being of citizens.
Ask your pastor, respectfully, for more help from the Word of God on how government should work. Ask for an occasional sermon on how our laws should be framed in ways that please God and honors the King of Kings. Ask him to pray regularly in worship for good governance and good governors. Ask him how the Bible informs us as to what candidates and ballot measures should be supported or opposed. Paul told Timothy it is job one.
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